Moscow police ‘stopping people to go through their phones’ amid anti-war protests

Russia is cracking down on anti-war protesters and western social media as it continues Ukraine invasion

Sravasti Dasgupta
Tuesday 08 March 2022 09:47 GMT

Thousands turnout to march in anti-war protests across St Petersburg

Police in Moscow are going through people’s phones and screening their text messages and photos, according to a reporter based in the Russian capital.

Anya Vasileva, a correspondent for the Kommersant newspaper, posted a video on Telegram on Sunday that showed police near Detskiy Mir, a popular Russian toy store in Lubyanka Square in Moscow, stopping people to check their phones.

Ms Vasileva said in the post that those who refused to show their phones to the police were not allowed to pass through.

“I came up and asked them on what grounds they are doing this. The police checked my press card and declined to comment,” Ms Vasileva said in the post.

“I remind you, that phones are protected by end-to-end encryption. It is illegal for the police to order you to show them your phone’s contents!”

Last week, Russia passed a new law meaning citizens who spread what it described as “fake” information about the military can be jailed for up to 15 years.

The new law comes as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine after Vladimir Putin announced what he called a “special military operation” on 24 February.

Despite international condemnation and anti-war protests in Moscow, the Kremlin has continued to insist that its war with neighbouring Ukraine is a “special operation”.

Mr Putin has also cracked down on protesters taking to the streets to demonstrate against the conflict, which entered its thirteenth day on Tuesday.

In addition, the Russian government has also limited access to Facebook and Twitter, blocking tens of thousands of citizens out of the social media platforms.

This graphic shows the countries Ukrainian refugees are fleeing to

An International Criminal Court prosecutor said last week that an investigation has been opened into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity by Russia in Ukraine.

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